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Michael F. Easley

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Theodis Beck

North Carolina Department of Correction

For Release: IMMEDIATE Contact: Pamela Walker
Date: Oct. 28, 2004 Phone: (919) 716-3700

New inmate dog training program a big success

New pet owners, prison staff, inmates and local citizens today take part in the third graduating class of A New Leash on Life-Prison Dog Training Program. The graduations mark another successful partnership involving the Division of Prisons and local communities.

Since May, when the Division of Prisons implemented the pilot community service program, select groups of inmates at Marion Minimum Security Unit and Black Mountain Correctional Center for Women have trained three classes of homeless dogs to make them more adoptable. The first class graduated on July 7; the second, on September 1.

Black Mountain Superintendent Victoria Justice says the program has benefited many at her facility and in the community. Its been 100 percent successful. Its built inmate self-esteem and increased the morale of both the staff and inmates.

Marion Unit Manager Perry Franklin agrees. Its been fantastic. The dogs have been a pleasure, not a burden. The inmates are very proud of their accomplishments. Theyre saving these animals lives.

Trainers spend six weeks with each class, teaching the dogs basic obedience, house training and socialization skills. Local citizens and businesses have pitched in, donating dog food and other supplies to shelters for use in the program.

All the dogs trained so far have been have been adopted. The fourth training class, which gets underway tomorrow, consists of two dogs at Black Mountain and three at Marion.

The Marion Unit trainers work with the McDowell County animal shelter and the Marion Moose Family Center. Black Mountain trainers joined with the Mimi Paige Foundation and the Asheville Humane Society.

The Division of Prisons has authorized expanding the program to four more prisons: Cabarrus Correctional Center in Mt. Pleasant; Bladen Correctional Center in Elizabethtown; Caledonia Correctional Institution in Tillery; and Craven Correctional Institution in Vanceboro.

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North Carolina Department of Correction
Public Information Office     4202 Mail Service Center     Raleigh NC 27699-4202
Phone (919) 716-3700      Fax: (919) 716-3795

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